2019 World Trade Organization Public Forum
Abarna Selvarajah Head Delegate
Anna Desmarais, Communications Coordinator
Abarna Selvarajah critiques policy and academia from an anti-colonial and feminist resistance perspective. She is a fourth year student pursuing a Joint Honors degree in Political Science and History at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests include refugee and foreign worker rights, female power in resistance movements, her homeland Tamil Eelam, and human rights and resilience within marginalized communities. She has published an essay titled “Emily Murphy: the socio-political impacts of her novel the Black Candle” in the 2019 Clio undergraduate journal and presented an Undergraduate Research Project chronicling the life and work of perennial philosopher, Ananda Coomaraswamy. Abarna worked with several government departments to develop insight into the importance of Indigenous rights centered policy-making. She served as the President of the University of Ottawa Model United Nations Association and for two years prior, assumed the position of VP of Delegate Training. She won a Best Delegate award for her critical contributions to the discussions on eliminating Female-Genital Mutilation, while serving in the Office of the Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Gender Issues. Abarna has delivered presentations on rape culture within university campuses and consistently works to deconstruct the patriarchal foundation of academic environments. She also actively documents the large-scale human rights abuses committed against the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. To this end, she helped organize art exhibits, performed dance pieces, transcribed interviews with resilient mothers, and researched for non-profit groups advocating for war widow rights. Abarna is a proud sister, daughter, friend, and book-hoarder.
Anna Desmarais is a Canadian radio producer, fill-in talk show host and freelance political journalist. An early career professional journalist, Anna has worked for newsrooms across Canada and around the world, with bylines for CBC News, Bloomberg, TRT World News, Toronto Star, iPolitics, CTV Ottawa, 580 CFRA, Global News and the Ottawa Citizen. Her career took her to Toronto, Kathmandu and Edmonton before she landed back in the nation's capital in 2018. In Ottawa, Anna has covered many subjects in federal politics, including the environment and climate change, Indigenous affairs, immigration, foreign affairs and international trade. She has also interviewed several key Canadian figures, including an exclusive one-on-one with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. In April 2019, Anna was selected from hundreds of international applicants to become the North American climate journalism fellow for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. She will publish in-depth stories on local climate solutions from Rwanda, northern Canada, the United States and Mexico on behalf of the foundation. Anna is still a recent graduate of Carleton University’s Bachelor of Journalism program but she hopes to eventually become a foreign correspondent who covers the world’s most pressing global issues. Between shifts, Anna spends all her time enjoying Canada’s national parks. You can also find her volunteering with the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom, Junior Chamber International and helping to resettle student refugees with WUSC Canada.
Mark is a Policy Analyst for the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa. His work includes developing a new fiscal relationship between First Nations and the Government of Canada and other portfolios such as Indigenous participation in international fora, improving First Nations access to the electoral process, and Parliamentary monitoring and advocacy. He hopes to use his experience at the WTO Public Forum to learn more about civil society organizations and Indigenous Peoples roles in international advocacy, and to find allies of Indigenous rights in the global trade community.
Professionally, Mark has a diverse background having worked in Toronto at the United Steelworkers’ National Office, in Hamilton and Red Deer for provincially elected officials, in Calgary as Economic Advisor for the Japanese Consulate, and in Rome for Associazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana in their immigration department.
Mark has a Bachelor of Social Sciences, Honours in Political Science from the University of Ottawa and a Masters of Arts in Political Studies from Queen’s University in Comparative Politics and International Relations. During his studies he focused on stateless nations and sub-national self-determination movements.
In his leisure time he enjoys supporting Liverpool FC, watching Jeopardy!, doing poorly at pub trivia, visiting friends and family in Hamilton, and travelling, having been to 33 countries so far. Mark is a supporter of organized labour, adequately funded social services, racial and gender equality, improving electoral representation for marginalized groups, and self-determination for Indigenous Peoples.
He is a proud Hamiltonian and the proud son of a working-class family.
Antoine Tremblay is a 4th year law student at McGill University, specializing in international law, a Youth Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and the Copresident of the McGill International Law Society. Antoine boasts a breadth of diverse experiences, from working in Parliament, to interning at a major law firm in China, to working in the non-profit sector supporting families in need. He also studied in France and attended Model United Nations conferences everywhere from Peru to Spain, not to mention endless on-campus and off-campus involvement. Antoine is a big believer in the international system and is passionate about making it fairer, more sustainable, more ethical and more widely supported. He is truly eager to change the world and ambitions to one day run for office. In his spare time, Antoine enjoys everything from trotting the globe, to listening to the same song on loop (generally God’s Plan), to wrapping himself in his blanket and binge-watching The Office for the millionth time. At 21 years old, born to a Canadian father and a Moroccan mother, raised in China and alumnus of French international schools, Antoine is a veritable global citizen at heart and an ideal recruit for the Young Diplomats of Canada’s international delegation.
Saïka Sarazin is an Investor Services Advisor at Invest in Canada, a global investment promotion agency, which has the objective of facilitating foreign direct investment to create jobs and improve Canada’s economy. She provides concierge services to European companies planning to expand their physical presence into Canada. Saïka Sarazin always leveraged her interest and knowledge in International trade and development with her passion for advocacy and community building. As a YDC delegate, Saïka is looking forward to bringing her experience to this year’s WTO Public Forum as a representative of the Canadian youth and the official delegation, as she hopes to create opportunities for youth engagement while participating in a platform that facilitates discussion and the exchange of ideas for the future. Being a long-time proponent of youth engagement in civic and social organizations, Saïka embodied her ideals by accepting her invitation to fundraising events that helped students from the Haitian Community of Ottawa and Gatineau gain access to post-secondary education for three consecutive years (2013-2016). Through these events, she was engaging in discourses while learning first hand from pivotal figures that have contributed to the well-being of Haitian people in Canada. Her deep sense of community and belief in youth development extended beyond her personal attachments and immediate surroundings, as she taught classes focusing on management and international trade to students from sub-Saharan Africa during her internship with Ashinaga Senegal. Following this work placement, she continued to mentor her students throughout their first year of university, offering her guidance. Saïka holds a Master of Business Administration from Université Laval.